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Facebook is reportedly in deep conversations with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations about letting Facebook release information about the number of data requests it receives associated with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and national security.
According to All Things D’s sources, the parties are discussing an agreement that would see Facebook release the amount of these government requests it gets, though likely it wouldn’t be able to reveal much more about the requests than that. The agreement, if reached, would also give other technology companies the permission to do the same.
Google has released these transparency reports for awhile now and has also put in a request. Google is not backing Facebook’s own discussions, according to the sources. Google wrote a letter to the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder earlier this week request not only permission to publish the number of requests it gets but also how many accounts those requests affect.
Usually these reports come with a gag order, or an element of the data request that says the receiving company cannot talk about the request. Some have gone to say that these national security letters and FISA court orders are unconstitutional because of these gag orders.
Facebook explained earlier this week that it does not currently publish transparency reports in the same way Google does because it does not have permission to reveal these FISA requests. The company believes that the transparency report would not provide a full overview of the data and takedown requests that it receives and would thus not be beneficial to the public.
Mark Zuckerberg image via Jolie O’Dell/VentureBeat